The US flew four F-35B stealth fighter jets and two B-1B bombers over the Korean peninsula on Monday in a show of force after North Korea’s latest nuclear and missile tests, South Korea’s defense ministry said.
The flight was to “demonstrate the deterrence capability of the US-South Korea alliance against North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats”, the ministry said in a statement.
They were the first flights since the North conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on September 3 and staged an intermediate-range missile test over Japan last Friday, sending regional tensions soaring.
The US jets few alongside four South Korean F-15K jet fighters as part of “routine” training, the statement said, adding that the allies would continue such exercises to “improve their joint operation capabilities against contingencies”.
The previous such flights were on August 31.
Separately, China and Russia began a joint naval exercise east of the Korean peninsula.
The drill will be held in waters between the Russian port of Vladivostok and the southern part of the Sea of Okhotsk, further north, the Chinese defense ministry said.
The purpose of the exercise was not immediately clear and the ministry did not indicate its duration.
The UN Security Council last week imposed a fresh set of sanctions on North Korea over its missile and atomic weapons programs, though Washington toned down its original proposals to secure support from China and Russia.